Stateside with Rosalea: Election Miscellany
**Is God a cartoonist?**
Far from being the even sunnier, even warmer day predicted by the weather folks, the day after the election was gloomy, dank, and grey here in the Bay Area. It certainly seemed to fit the mood of the BART commuters I went to work with, who all looked like their dog had died.
The counties bordering the San Francisco Bay are bluer than blue, most voting more than 70 percent for Kerry, the City itself voting 83 percent that way. So was it divine retribution that on 3 November there was a sudden thunderstorm and lightning in the North Bay? And hailstones falling so hard that they broke people's windscreens as they drove along the edge of the East Bay?
Or was it a gleeful bit of celebratory cloud-seeding? I only ask because a workmate came back from lunch down by the Bay and asked me if it had been raining while she was gone. No. Well, she said, it was really weird. As they got out of the car down at the restaurant, a rain cloud suddenly formed in the sky and heavy rain fell just in that one spot where they were. Just like in the cartoons.
GW, as in Gretchen Wilson, released a new version of her hit single Redneck Woman via iTunes on election day. No doubt it had gotten plenty of airplay in the Midwest before then, having been released on October 25 in support of the St. Louis Cardinals' bid to win the World Series baseball playoff. She retooled the song as Redbird Fever and changed the "Hell, yeah!" chorus to "Go Cards!"
Hmm. Didn't the red states just give the bird to the rest of the world by re-electing the other GW, and wasn't it Andrew Card who announced it?
(A cardinal is a red, crested finch common in the eastern US and the southwest, and to give the bird is to make an obscene gesture of contempt by pointing the middle finger upward while keeping the other fingers down.)
The Cardinals lost the series in three straight games, giving the Boston Red Sox their first World Series crown since 1918 and sending politically minded sports fans in the Bay Area into a state of pre-election gloom because no presidential candidate from a state that has just won the World Series has ever won election. Boston, of course, is in Massachusetts, where Kerry is senator.
**Next we take Manhattan**
Further to my country music theme, and the role that artists in that genre played in the Bush re-election, Big and Rich--a male duo with the same manager as Wilson--released a single called Holy Water on the day before the election. It's about a girl who loses her innocence and just wants someone to hold her "like holy water." Lyrics of an earlier Big and Rich song, Live This Life, invoke stories of Jesus and his healing power.
But the very first country music video I saw when I got cable was BandR's huge hit, Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy. I was astonished by its use of scantily clad girls dancing in a way that you'd associate with rap music as they march into "the city" and BandR ride "up and down Broadway." Well, it's just been announced--by a cowboy-hatted Mayor Bloomberg-- that the CM Awards will be held in New York next year.
**Blindsided, my a*** **
I don't believe for a minute that the religious right turnout changed the result that the Democrats expected last Tuesday. The Democratic National Committee chose to promote in the primaries a candidate who had no chance whatsoever of winning the election. The DNC was probably in a state of panic when the first presidential debate pulled Kerry back from the edge of the cliff his campaign was about to go over.
In full knowledge that the Midwest states play a crucial role in the election, the DNC picked someone who was certain to lose there. Country video after country video capitalises on the xenophobia of those states by mocking big city, college-educated folks, or have lyrics like "You do your thing and I'll do mine" sung by a guy in a cowboy hat and a long black coat with a cross emblazoned on the back.
And did I mention that the Midwest is where the first lynchings took place in the US? Not of blacks, but of Catholics and Jews.
**The new map of North America**
Somewhere on the internet is the new map of North America, redrawn to reflect Tuesday's election results. Those states that went blue--the West coast, around the Great Lakes, and in the North East--have been subsumed into The United States of Canada. The rest of the country is renamed Jesusland.
Well, at least that's a bit less scary than my initial thought that the US now looks like India after the partition in 1947, and all that implies for the future. The immediate reaction of one of my US friends was that those blue areas are all places that have a lot of contact with people from other cultures. And he felt that the fact most large urban areas in the red states also went against Bush was further evidence that cosmopolitanism was the key to the way people would vote.
**Join the corn boycott**
If you're in a retaliatory mood and don't know what to do, join the corn boycott. Since many of those red states have economies completely based on corn, you just need to stop buying foods containing corn syrup or corn starch. As you look at the ingredient lists on the supermarket shelf or on those little condiment pouches at the fast food outlet, you will see that that is most everything, but there are always alternatives.
You may also be protecting yourself against becoming a fathead--after all, there's no guarantee those corn byproducts weren't made from GE corn stockfeed created to produce high-priced fat-marbled beef. (Go research!)